Body

Science says there is no such thing as 'period brain'

One of the first studies of its kind finds our mental ability is not impaired by menstruation.

There is a time old misconception that during times of menstruation, a woman becomes slow, vague, scattered and fundamentally cognitively impaired.
While earlier research supports this way of thinking, providing reasons why we may feel particular dopey during our time of the month - a 2014 study found that pain caused by menstrual cramps impacted brain function and cognitive ability, which in turn negatively affected test scores, multi-tasking ability and attention span - thanks to new research, we can now consider this to be an outdated way of thinking.
A new (and very long overdue) study published in the journal Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience has finally debunked the idea that periods impair your ability to think.
The research investigated whether the time during menstruation affects a woman's cognitive ability.
They found no link between impaired cognitive ability and menstrual cycles.
Now, we're not saying having your period can often be a painful and unpleasant time, but does it affect you mentally? Maybe not.
The test followed women from Germany and Switzerland examining them at four different stages over their menstrual cycles, checking levels of hormones, then re-examining the same women over a second cycle.
They found no link between 'Monday brain' and periods. So again, sorry to burst that bubble.
Author of the study, Professor Brigitte Leeners confirmed, "The hormonal changes related to the menstrual cycle do not show any association with cognitive performance. Although there might be individual exceptions, women's cognitive performance is in general not disturbed by hormonal changes occurring with the menstrual cycle."
Surprisingly, this is one of the first studies to follow women across two menstrual cycles and compare results.
The myth around cognitive ability and menstruation is so prevalent in our society that Professor Lerners says women are more inclined to believe it.
She said,"As a specialist in reproductive medicine and a psychotherapist, I deal with many women who have the impression that the menstrual cycle influences their well-being and cognitive performance.”
Because of this, we're "prone to inflated effect sizes and probable false positive findings due to methodological biases and random variance."

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